Armenian Genocide commemoration held in Times Square

The significant theme of “Truth, Recognition and Justice” reverberated throughout Times Square on Sunday as Armenian Americans commemorated the 108th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, while advocating for the Armenians of Artsakh, who continue to endure the blockade on the Lachin Corridor implemented by Azerbaijan over four months ago, the Armenian Weekly reports.

Keynote speakers during the annual memorial event organized by the Knights and Daughters of Vartan pledged that the Armenian people will not be victims of ethnic cleansing once again.

The first New Yorker to be elected to five terms in the US Senate, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) vowed to “work just as hard this term as every other term to fight for the Armenian people both here in America and in Armenia.” He noted that every genocide has something in common, which is that “the world looked away and turned a blind eye” resulting in a “stain on humanity.”

Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) reflected on the “incredible successes” of the Armenian people in the US following the Armenian Genocide and stated he was “proud” of the role he played in US acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide, as he introduced and co-sponsored resolutions recognizing the Armenian Genocide since his first year in the Senate in 2006.

“Fighting the denial of the Armenian Genocide is not only about the past, it’s about the present as Armenians again face the threat of ethnic cleansing,” said Senator Menendez, referring to Azerbaijan’s unprovoked assaults on the Armenians in Artsakh and the ongoing blockade of Artsakh.

Permanent Representative of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic to the US Robert Avetisyan expressed his gratitude to the US for its swift response during the Armenian Genocide, its diplomatic and humanitarian efforts, and its historic recognition, “which is another testament of unity between our nations when it comes to matters of truth, justice and humanity.”

“The ongoing blockade of Artsakh has clear genocidal intent, and we will continue our struggle with collective efforts to prevent a second Armenian Genocide,” Avetisyan said. He noted that Aliyev “openly ignores” calls from the State Department, White House, Congress and International Court of Justice to re-open the Lachin Corridor. He stressed the need for “concrete actions” including economic and political sanctions against Aliyev, as well as more humanitarian aid and efforts to ease the suffering of those whose lives worsened under the blockade on a daily basis.

Grand Commander of the Knights of Vartan, Hunan Arshakyan, as well as the Grand Matron of the Daughters of Vartan, Gloria Korkoian, reflected on the noteworthy mission of their respective organizations during this critical time. “As we remember our martyred saints who gave their lives to our country and faith during the Armenian Genocide, we think of our fellow Armenians today in Armenia and Artsakh who are still suffering and fighting for their right to exist and their right to live as Armenians and be free from ethnic cleansing,” said Arshakyan. He stated that the Knights of Vartan is now in its second century of service to preserve the Armenian homeland, church and culture, and that “Armenians around the world carry the same responsibility to keep our people and heritage alive and to tell our story,” said Arshakyan. “We must never stop serving our people and fighting for truth and freedom.”

His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Primate of the Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America, delivered the invocation, and Very Rev. Fr. Mesrop Parsamyan, Primate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America, delivered the benediction. Aram Bashian of the Armenian Evangelical Church of New York City and Rev. Richard Shackil, Parochial Vicar of Holy Cross Armenian Catholic Church of Little Falls, NJ, shared remarks and prayers. The Holy Martyrs Armenian Day School students sang the Armenian and American anthems and God Bless America.

The Knights and Daughters of Vartan have sponsored the Times Square Armenian Genocide Commemoration since 1985, along with the support of a multitude of Armenian American community organizations. This year the event was co-chaired by Haig Gulian, Ari Minnetyan, and Christopher Artun, under the guidance of Chairman Emeritus Hirant Gulian.

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